Plutarch, Lives. Artaxerxes

LCL 103: 128-129

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Plutarch's Lives


I. Ὁ μὲν πρῶτος Ἀρτοξέρξης, τῶν ἐν Πέρσαις βασιλέων πρᾳότητι καὶ μεγαλοψυχίᾳ πρωτεύσας, Μακρόχειρ ἐπεκαλεῖτο τὴν δεξιὰν μείζονα τῆς ἑτέρας ἔχων, Ξέρξου δὲ ἦν υἱός· ὁ δὲ δεύτερος, περὶ οὗ τάδε γράφεται, Μνήμων ἐπικληθεὶς ἐκ θυγατρὸς ἦν ἐκείνου. Δαρείου γὰρ καὶ Παρυσάτιδος 1012 παῖδες ἐγένοντο τέσσαρες, πρεσβύτατος μὲν Ἀρτοξέρξης, μετ᾿ ἐκεῖνον δὲ Κῦρος, νεώτεροι δὲ 2τούτων Ὀστάνης καὶ Ὀξάθρης. ὁ μὲν οὖν Κῦρος ἀπὸ Κύρου τοῦ παλαιοῦ τοὔνομα ἔσχεν, ἐκείνῳ δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἡλίου γενέσθαι φασί· Κῦρον γὰρ καλεῖν Πέρσας τὸν ἥλιον. ὁ δὲ Ἀρτοξέρξης Ἀρσίκας πρότερον ἐκαλεῖτο· καίτοι Δείνων φησὶν ὅτι Ὀάρσης. ἀλλὰ τὸν Κτησίαν, εἰ καὶ τἆλλα μύθων ἀπιθάνων καὶ παραφόρων ἐμβέβληκεν εἰς τὰ βιβλία παντοδαπὴν πυλαίαν, οὐκ εἰκός εστιν ἀγνοεῖν τοὔνομα τοῦ βασιλέως παρ᾿ ᾧ διέτριβε θεραπεύων αὐτὸν καὶ γυναῖκα καὶ μητέρα καὶ παῖδας.

II. Ὁ μὲν οὖν Κῦρος ἔντονόν τι καὶ σφοδρὸν εὐθὺς ἐκ πρώτης ἡλικίας εἶχεν, ἅτερος δὲ πρᾳότερος ἐδόκει περὶ πάντα καὶ ταῖς ὁρμαῖς φύσει μαλακώτερος εἶναι. γυναῖκα δὲ καλὴν καὶ ἀγαθὴν ἔλαβε μὲν τῶν γονέων κελευόντων, ἐφύλαξε




I. The first Artaxerxes,1 preëminent among the kings of Persia for gentleness and magnanimity, was surnamed Longimanus, because his right hand was longer than his left, and was the son of Xerxes; the second Artaxerxes,2 the subject of this Life, was surnamed Memor, or Mindful, and was the grandson of the first by his daughter Parysatis. For Dareius3 and Parysatis had four sons—an eldest, Artaxerxes, and next to him Cyrus, and after these Ostanes and Oxathres. Cyrus took his name from Cyrus of old,4 who, as they say, was named from the sun; for “Cyrus” is the Persian word for sun. Artaxerxes was at first called Arsicas; although Deinon gives the name as Oarses. But it is unlikely that Ctesias, even if he has put into his work a perfect farrago of extravagant and incredible tales, should be ignorant of the name of the king at whose court he lived as physician to the king’s wife and mother and children.

II. Now Cyrus, from his very earliest years, was high-strung and impetuous, but Artaxerxes seemed gentler in everything and naturally milder in his impulses. His wife, a beautiful and excellent woman, he married in compliance with his parents’ bidding,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plutarch-lives_artaxerxes.1926